Willy Fiedler, the boy who wanted to fly


When Willy Achim Fiedler was 4 years old, he walked with his mother to the market in Freudenstadt, Germany, their Black Forest hometown. As he looked up at a red balloon in the air he told her, "I want to fly."

Mr. Fiedler spent a lifetime fulfilling that desire. He became a leading aerospace engineer, scientist and aircraft designer, the first person to fly a missile.

Mr. Fiedler died Jan. 17. He was 89.

Born on Jan. 23, 1908, the young Willy first heard about the world of flight when his father, a prominent Freudenstadt photographer, showed him pictures taken from when he rode in a Zeppelin.

In 1936 Mr. Fiedler worked for British Aircraft in England. He returned to Germany in 1937 and married Greta Lange. They had a son who died young, and three daughters.

Mr. Fiedler became a designer and test pilot at Gerhard Fieseler Aircraft Works in Kassel, Germany in 1938. During World War II, he worked on the development and flight testing of the V-i missile at Peenemunde.

His reputation as an engineer, airplane designer, and test pilot made Mr. Fiedler a prime candidate among German scientists called on by the U.S. Navy after the war. Assigned to the Naval Air Missile Test Center at Point Mag, he supervised the development and launching of the United States-manufactured V-i from a submarine

Mr. Fielder was chief scientist and technical staff manager for developing the Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident missiles at Lockheed from 1956 to 1973.

Mr Fiedler is survived by his wife Monica; daughters Petra Motz of Munich, Germany, Monika Rohrbach of Erlanger, Germany, and Karen Marquardt of Kerela, India and San Jose; grandchildren Cornelia Motz, Jana and Michael Marquardt; son-in-law Bill Marquardt; stepsons Greg and Thomas Lambrecht; and step-grandson: Cord Lambrecht.

The family prefers contributions to The Sempervirens Fund, P.O. Drawer B- F, Los Altos 94023.

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